The First Ascent Hangfire Hoodie will be your new favorite outer-layer, mid-layer, around town layer and everything else layer. It is a rare piece of gear that just seems to work in every situation.

First Ascent is Eddie Bauer’s line of mountaineering focused gear. I know that when most people hear of Eddie Bauer they might think of corduroy jackets or home furnishings. First Ascent is different and the Hangfire Hoodie is a shining example of that.

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The Hangfire Hoodie is a mid-weight fleece hoodie that retails for $119. Their is also a men’s and women’s version. $119 might seem like a lot for a fleece but the Hangfire’s technical features and design make it worth it, in my opinion.

The Hangfire Hoodie is designed with a close to the body fit with enough room for a base layer underneath. This means that the jacket won’t inhibit movement and it doesn’t have a lot of excess material that will get in the way.

The Hangfire Hoodie also features a chest pocket which won’t interfere with your backpack’s sternum strap. This provides crucial cargo space for a snack, a camera or any other small item you want to access while on the move. You will also find two standard zipper hand warmer style pockets.
And finally there is the hood. The hood on this piece is a stretchy material that fits snugly to the head without any drawstrings. It adds enough warmth to let me leave my knit hats in my pack on most hikes. Also, the Hangfire zips up very high to cover most of face which, combined with the hood, creates a balaclava type feel.

I have barely taken the Hnagfire Hoodie off since I bought it. I have worn it as insulation while climbing above tree line and it has proven to be amazingly breathable. I have used it as an insulting layer, under a shell, in windy 15 degree conditions on top of Mount Greylock and felt plenty warm. It also looks good enough to wear around town. The Hangfire Hoodie just seems to do it all. If I could improve anything about this piece I would find a way to make it go on sale more often so I can buy more of them.

I purchased the Hangfire Hoodie with my own funds and received no incentive to write this review.